ERIC Number: EJ949876
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec-14
Districts Created to Steer "Turnarounds"
Samuels, Christina A.
Education Week, v31 n14 p1, 18 Dec 2011
If the job of a traditional superintendent is hard, imagine the complexities involved in building a school system from scratch--especially one composed of schools with some of the most intractable educational challenges. That's the task facing education leaders in Michigan and Tennessee, which are building special districts to take over low-performing schools this year and next. And it may become the job of more school leaders, as states work to enact wholesale changes in groups of struggling schools, rather than taking on one school at a time or directly managing established districts. Both Michigan and Tennessee are drawing on the experiences of Louisiana's Recovery School District, which took responsibility for most of the schools in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005 and which now includes schools from other districts across the state. Unlike the managers of previous state interventions in low-performing districts, the leaders heading "turnaround" districts in Louisiana, Michigan, and Tennessee are working in new, state-created districts that pluck schools from their home districts and put them under an entirely different management structure. Proponents of the idea argue that removing schools from the bureaucracy of the traditional school district--and, to some extent, from the bureaucracy of direct management by the state--frees those schools to create new and innovative programs to meet students' needs. But experts in administration say these new district-management models may require a new breed of leader--one who has the skill to navigate local political waters in districts that may be distrustful of state efforts and deal with state leaders who may exert pressure to get positive results quickly.
Descriptors: School Districts, Educational Change, Administrative Organization, School Effectiveness, School Administration
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana; Michigan; Tennessee